One thing that’s impressed me with each issue of Marvel’s X-23 is that each issue is two things–an excellent action story and a deconstruction/exploration of family relationships. This issue continues that theme in a very unexpected way.
Mariko Tamaki is joined in this issue by new art team Diego Olortegui, Walden Wong, color artist Chris O’Halloran, and letterer Cory Petit, with a cover by Ashley Witter. It gives the story an energetic breath of fresh air, while continuing a lot of the themes of the series to date.
A series of murders have attracted the attention of the X-Men, which leads to Laura and Gabby investigating. They discover a cyborg assassin who shares a face with them. Before they can figure out that mystery though, a black ops team attacks them to reclaim their newly discovered sister.
It’s impressive the tones that Tamaki successfully juggles here. The first few pages, featuring Gabby preparing for a stakeout, are very funny, then it snaps into an action story, then again changes tone as the girls debate exactly who their adversary is and what it means for their newly formed family unit. It’s three different stories, but each of them fit together perfectly and gives us a satisfying and tantalizing first issue.
Olortegui and Wong’s art is much more cartoony than previous series art Juann Cabal, but their style contributes a lot to making it work. They switch easily from comedy to action to drama. The fight between Laura and the assassin looks great, with a very good sense of motion, and some great depictions of the action. O’Halloran does really good work throughout the issue, but particularly in that fight, which is only lit by computer monitors, and actually looks like it.
Best Of 2018 lists have started to pop up and some have named X-23 as one of the best heroes of the year. This issue proves that it’s true, and has rocketed Laura to the top of my list of favorites.
X-23 #7 is available now from Marvel Comics.